tv Book TV After Words CSPAN December 17, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
revolution, george washington and coming home at the end of the war and actually arriving at mount vernon on christmas eve. i did another on the battle of the bulge that was a wartime christmas in of course, with the capture of savannah. >> what is it about christmas? >> a remarkable time for families and a remarkable time in history over the years. i hope this is my last christmas novel. . .
>> host: robert guest thank you for joining us today. >> guest: my pleasure. >> guest: this is a fascinating book and i love the subtitle, chinese sea turtles, indian fridges, and the new fruits of global capitalism the book is loaded with great anecdotes and examples on what you describe as migration nomics. please explain what that is. >> guest: it's looking at what
happens when people move around. economics is about people and to my mind the most interesting people in the world are the ones who move from one place to another, and there's an awful lot of them. there are about 215 million first-generation and more if you count their children so if they were a country they would be the world's largest and probably most dynamic. and the nature of migration has changed profoundly in the past generation or so. it used to be that immigrants would get on a boat and they would stay -- sail from one place to another and they they y settled there and never lose touch with the places that they came from because back in the old days a telephone call would cost all but a months wages and an airplane ticket wasn't possible but now, you know they get on a plane, the land and as soon as the plane hits the tarmac they tax their mothers back in a place where they came from. so communication is just much much easier than it used to be.
and immigrants stay in touch with the places that they came from. and that means they form networks and that has had profound effects for business, for economics, for science and even for politics. >> communications and the role of technology is sort of facilitating this migration homage that you describe all throughout this book is definitely key key in describing this sort of subeconomy if he will. submay not be the right way to describe it but if i could step back and ask you, how did you come across this idea? you have been a foreign correspondent, a the business editor for the congress -- and you have lived in many places. can you talk by your observations of the world and how this book idea came about? >> guest: okay. i have traveled to nearly 70 countries now generally with someone else paying the bill, and i've just noticed how much ideas move from one place to
another inside the heads of people who are moving. maybe if you cut back and say what happens when people are not allowed to move? i remember one time i was in north korea obviously a country where people aren't allowed in and are really allowed out unless they have time to get a visa. i was at this exhibition of north korean technology and they were showing north korean computers and -- >> host: what year was this? >> guest: this was in the mid-90s and i was a bit suspicious so i hit the off switch and hit it again to reboot it and it flashed out texas instruments on this during -- screen. i went to a library there and talk to and asked the as the library and what books were popular. he said obviously the works of the great leader kim il-sung and his wonderful song kim jong-il.
any other books or any other orders that people read and he could not name a single one. that to me really encapsulated why it is closed society, north korea is 17 times poorer than south south korea which is an open society and so you start to look at what happens when people move and the book is full of examples, divided into different sections. there's the business side and the politics side of the technology side. i can go through some of them if you would like. >> host: absolutely. i love this anecdote of the most isolated country arguably in the world and bordered by the same language, same culture in many ways. one of the most vibrant and strongest economy of the world. we can go back to south korea but i wonder if in some ways, if south korea's success is, because one could argue that
after the war, that a very authoritative, authoritarian regime and south korea helped really does what you see in the economy today or at least get some started with the president been putting a lot of focus on certain industries and certain companies. and you know, if you can tease out this idea of how south korea became open from that point of view and the migration and economics. >> guest: south korea, nina did have that bad period where it was a military regime but it has generally been pretty open to the outside world. they generally thought in time -- terms of can we make things that the outside world would want and sell them to them. they have allowed people in. they are are letting more people and now. you see the rate of intermarriage there has gone up dramatically from south koreans bearing people from other
countries, really in the past decade and a study abroad. south korea has the highest rate of people who go abroad to study. when you go abroad to study you find out new ideas. you find the best of what is going on in the outside world and you bring those ideas back home if you come back home or if you don't come back home, you find that you are someone who inside korea people can talk to who knows what's going on in the outside world so information is passed along that way as well. >> host: can you give us an example robert of what you think are some of the best examples -- you have some great examples of migration nomics from the silicon valley. when i worked for the san jose mercury news i took a trip to taiwan to taipei and families there even knew what school boundaries to live then in silicon valley in the city called cupertino because there was such a well trod path back and forth and as you describe in your book, there is this
borderless idea, the seamlessness of people traveling back and forth not only with their family connections and for education but for business and i would love it if you could give some examples. >> i will give you the example of a chinese woman who came to america couple of decades and with that outsiders i. she made a couple of observations. she notice that americans throw out a lot of waste paper, mountains of old catalogs and heaps of junk mail and fast piles of unread copies of the edition of "the new york times." and she thought that is interesting and the other thing she noticed were also ships coming from china to the u.s. but going back half empty because you know the things that america exports to china tend not to be very bulky, things
like movies and intellectual property and things from the government. she thought hold on, why don't i load up all this waste paper onto these half empty ships, send it back to china and recycle it there so you have contacts back in china to set up factories, to recycle the stuff into card or boxes and then of course you have cardboard boxes to send back to america. she is a billionaire and straddling both countries. her family struggles both countries and she's able to link to them. >> host: robert, what was the response by the chinese government in her setting up the factory? did she find any red tape? were there any hurdles to doing that? >> guest: i'm sure there was quite a lot of red tape but very often in china, if he wants to do business there, it's not simple. there are a bunch of laws and if you follow them you are okay. it's a lot more knowing the right people in knowing who you can trust and who you can't and
that is one of the fascinating things about the rise of emerging markets. in places like china, and india and china and africa are getting much bigger and you can't rely on the law of the will world there that you can in rich countries. so if you have personal contacts and you know who to deal with, who to trust. that is why you see a staggering amount of business that is done with china is done through the overseas chinese. in fact it's about 70% of the foreign direct investment passes through the chinese diaspora, the chinese who live outside mainline chana. that is because they know what to do. they know how to put you in touch with the right people and you find that american companies that hire first-generation chinese-americans find it much easier to do business in china without a joint venture, so they make more profits. so the fact that america has so many immigrants from china,
india and other places makes it much easier for america to thrive in the new global economy. >> host: and does this borderless economy, this sort of immigrant spirit and the economics the ripple from that is it a first-generation phenomena or what happens when those immigrants have children? do they carry it on? >> guest: it's not just the first generation. we are relatively new to the information age that we don't know how it is going to pan out with the next generation but we do know that as a rule the children of first-generation immigrants have the same drive and the same -- they are taught about how to, you know, how to stand on their own two feet and how to setup your businesses and you see a very high proportion of the fortune 500 companies set up like the first-generation -- generation immigrants, the fumbles as -- the founders of
google. the children of first-generation immigrants and there are lots of examples of that. >> host: maybe you can tease out some of these examples because robert one thing i did find very fascinating and reading this is your discussion on that drive. there's something about the people themselves. maybe it is a select group of people who just have a lot more gumption, little more puts but as we say. what is it about the people? >> guest: two things. what it's like you say, gumption. it takes get up and go to get up and go. it's an act of courage to leave the country that you were born and worth everything is familiar and where grandmothers are there to hold the babies, to lead that comfort and go somewhere new. that is really difficult so it is a select group of people doing this. but there is more to it than that. there's a lot of very interesting psychological research that suggests that the
act of living abroad makes people more creative. that sort of intuitively, that sort of makes sense because if you move abroad, you have to learn foreign languages and you have to constantly make sense of new situations. if you constantly have to make sense of new situations you naturally become more adept at doing that. there was an experiment some people did where they applied something called the candle problem which is creativity. they took a load of mba students who were otherwise identical but some of them had lived abroad and worked abroad, not just -- but properly lived abroad. and they taught them to do this experiment where you give them a candle and some matches and you tell them, you have got to stick the candle to a wall and it is
going to burn in a way that it does not drip wax on the floor. the way you do that is you empty all of the tax out of the box and put candles in the box like us cohen said the new pin the box to the wall. they discovered that a large majority of the kids who had lived abroad could do it properly and the ones who hadn't lived abroad could not do the problem. there are other examples like that. >> host: that is a great example, especially in this helicopter in apparent age. >> guest: you see an awful lot of creativity there but it's not just about individual creativity going on within one person's brain. it's also about collaboration and an awful lot of scientific rug rats, an awful lot of technological process, an awful lot of business that depends on collaboration. there's too much information for one person to be able to keep up with and to hold in their brain. so what happens is that
migrants, you know a lot of them having a small network like most people do around where they live, they have a global network and there are people far far away. it's easy for them to swap information with them. i will give you an example of that. the indian government decided recently that they wanted to give everyone some kind of i.d. like americans have social security numbers. they wanted to give biometric identities to everybody in india. there are 1.2 billion people in india, and many of them you know don't have any kind of identity. so they can't open bank accounts. they can barely even access government services. and when this idea came out giving identities to everyone, it's not possible. you can't do it. the indian government is incredibly slow and insufficient
and it's just not going to work. so there was software engineer who said well lets see if we can tap the indian grapevine. let's ask what the indians who live outside of india, see if they can help so he calls his clever friends in silicon valley and they call their friends and before you know if you have got a bunch of very brainy indians who have done things like designing the numbercrunching software for the new york stock exchange and helping set up big on line medical companies. they will get very excited about this project and they will jump on planes and fly to bangalore and set up a rented apartment and order in a lot of junk food and start brainstorming. and they just work so fast because you know, they are people who have been trained in silicon valley. they are used to the venture model of setting up a company really fast and before you know they have come up with this incredibly robust system for enrolling everybody.
the enrolling is underway and it's on schedule at the moment and there is an incredible gift to the whole of india that they are going to give 1 billion indians and identity. that was done through the power of diaspora connections. >> host: that is fastening and is that a for-profit venture they are doing? i find it fascinating that you see a lot of philanthropy that stems from outside of india toured india from the diaspora which i think is interesting. that leads to my next question is -- which is who benefits from migrationomics? is it always mutual and are there examples of one country may be benefits more than others, individuals do more? who benefits from it? >> guest: people who most obviously benefit from migration are the migrants themselves because they are making a voluntary decision to move from one place to another because they think they will be better off in some way, whether it is
materially better or more peaceable or they like the weather or whatever. clearly they think they will be better off and if they find they are wrong they can go back again so they are the main beneficiaries and the level of that benefit is enormous. to completely divorce for for example foreign aid. we spend billions and billions on foreign aid and sometimes extremely dubious values, but the amount that you can benefit people from poor countries by allowing them into a rich country is staggering. you can see a tenfold increase in how much they earn so they are the main beneficiaries but my argument is that pretty much everybody benefits from open borders. not completely open straightaway. that would obviously be somewhat disrupted but substantially more than they are at the moment. and the reasons they benefit partly it's because of the network that i was mentioning, the fact that if america for example, which is the favorite destination of immigrants in the
world, having lots of immigrants in the country means that america has better context with the rest of the world. it also has legions of artificial ambassadors, boosters, deal brokers etc. and the rest of the world. even has official ambassadors. you look at gary locke the new ambassador to china, chinese american and he is this walking rebuke to the chinese authoritarian system. >> host: is the chinese? >> guest: the fact that he doesn't. >> chinese indicates he is very young but the chinese people see this guy. firstly he is the genies -- chinese guy, governor of washington state, so that completely undermines the notion of democracy being alien to chinese culture. he stands in pews and stands in lines and waits for things. he travels economy class and does all the things that the
chinese political elite don't do. so you become this massive hero in the space of a few months in china so much so that the chinese government is so frightened of him that they have actually started to tell the news agency there to play down anything that he does not give them too much publicity. >> host: fascinating. i wonder if that was strategic by the u.s. point of view. you do have an issue to support, many, to support the idea. one was a 2005 study that estimates that if rich countries allowed 3% rise in their labor force in immigration it would deliver $300 billion in benefits to the world have not. so definitely there are government policies that can facilitate or impede. >> guest: absolutely. the governments control the borders. it's very difficult to stop unskilled people from coming into the country there is a land border. you can build a wall with mexico and i read one study that showed
that if the mexicans keep trying they are really determined to get across the border, the success rate is 98%. they all get here eventually if they want to. to keep them away would mean a massive recession. which interestingly shows you how they are coming in order to do something useful. they're not coming to sponsor anything but we are very skilled minded when they come from further way. if you make the visa process for indian engineers and chinese accountants and so forth, if you make that cumbersome and difficult and if you make them hang around for 10 years, not able to change jobs because that would mean they would have to reapply from the beginning, not to go home and visit their parents back in the old country for fear that they won't be let out into the country. if you do all those things, which america is doing at the time, then after a while you know, these people have choices. they will go to canada instead. >> host: put this in context,
robert. what is the united united state' immigration policy like compared to others? do we tend to be more open? do we tend to be tighter? we are going through period of lots of discussion right now. >> guest: it is viewed as more open than others and and and more clothes than others but what is striking about america's immigration policy is that this is a country that is entirely built on immigration. in the absence of immigration american would be nothing. a paradise for buffalo perhaps but on the world stage. second is the fact that it is tremendously cumbersome. we don't just make a decision, yes or no. they just sort of put you through incredibly long oops. the next thing is that it is one of the, of all the rich countries, it is the country that has the policy that pays the least attention to skills and knowledge. the vast majority of green cards, 85%, are given on the
basis of family reunions. family reunions are great and family is very important that you have really highly-skilled people in our american universities. we have people who have advanced degrees in engineering or biomechanics and stuff like that who graduate and then they turn out of the country. this is what michael bloomberg for mayor of new york described as national suicide. it is an unbelievably crazy policy and everywhere else in the world, canada, australia and new zealand particularly are saying we will have these people. there was a report the other week, the majority, about 60% of the extremely wealthy people in china are either actively looking for a foreign passport or thinking about it. >> host: why are they? why is that? >> guest: say you have god you are reasonably prominent and made a lot of money in china. you have no idea when there will
be a changeover by government next year. you don't know where the people in paris are going to take against you and suddenly the guy that is protecting you might be replaced by somebody who doesn't like you and you could be arrested and thrown in jail and lose all of your property. they don't like that so they are thinking they don't necessarily want to leave china but they would really like to have the option of living in two countries are baby they would to lee. maybe they would like their children to grow up somewhere where the air is clean and the universities are much better. they are bringing connections and money and they are the elite of the elite. most of them are very clever. >> host: one thing that always astounds me is the fact that this sort of, the migration connections that the chinese have, that the chinese have had, not just recent history but over centuries really, with diaspora being a part of the experience for so long, but the sheer
population does not seem to -- the clean networks and other chinese and being able to use networks and the trust aspect. >> guest: well, it's huge. the chinese diaspora and the way i measure in which it everybody who lives outside of mainland china and especially chinese, there are about 70 billion in the world. you see different numbers because some people will say taiwan -- i don't want to get into the politics of that. to like they are part of the diaspora. if they were country, if the overseas chinese were a country they would be bigger than france and they are completely global. they are in almost every country. it used to be that, when china was closed, under mao when everything was going to hell,
then the overseas chinese were basically refugees from a place that more or less collapsed and they would link their trading networks would link one foreign port with another. maybe they would link thailand with indignation or something. now that is completely change. now that china has opened up suddenly they are linking china to the world and the world to china. there is a sort of bridge between china and every country in the world. that is the way china found out what is going on around the world and that is the way other people and the rest of world find out what is going on in china. it's a fantastically useful thing. >> host: do you think the chinese outsider in any way influenced chinese politics and opening up were quickly? >> guest: i think this is one of the most fascinating areas because you have had this enormous foreign study movement and if you are a member of the chinese elite, the one thing you really want your children to have is a foreign university education and so you have got something like half a million
chinese people who have studied abroad and then gone back to china. most of them in the past decade. and these children, these are either very clever people who get scholarships or they are very well connected people sure they are wealthy enough to afford foreign university fees. and extraordinary the influence that they have in china. they completely dominate the technology industry and all in all the big tech companies. they have huge numbers, founded by returnees or have huge numbers working in high positions. they completely dominate the technocratic think-tanks that advice the government on practical policy, and the most interesting thing, they are starting to be a big force in the communist party itself. if you look at cheng we have workings, who has done this sort of study of what proportion of the central committee of the
communist party are returnees or uneducated. it is just going up-and-up and up. it was 6% in 2002 and jumps to about 7% and it's up to 10%, nearly double by 2007. with a changeover next year it will be up to 15 to 17% and it is gradually getting larger. this is crucial because you have a lot of pressure in china, 70,000 demonstrations and protests every year and almost 300,000 labor disputes every year. the system is really -- because it's not democratic and a way for people to express their views to change things without violence. and within the system, the very top of the system you have this very large cadre of people who have first-hand experience of what a democracy looks like, who understand not just how elections work, but how the rule of law works, how people get
along with each other and it danced democracy, and i predict that when china finally goes democratic, it's going to because these people were there to reform from within. >> host: fascinating. how much in your experience robert are those individuals instrumental economically? how much are they competing in larger global culled political efforts and diplomacy? is that the u.k. government? is at the u.s. government? are they calling ideas from the folks that are on the ground in who are bringing migration -- migrationomics from within? >> guest: the chinese government has this conscious policy of sending people, sending technocrats to foreign countries to find out how they do things. so they will send people to singapore to find out how you make the tax system and people
to europe to find out how you handle the environment policies and send people to south korea to see how you have a big conglomerate that somehow innovates and they are trying to pick up a lot of ideas. the ideas they will bring back technocratic ideas, that they will just stick to fixing the plumbing. but you can't separate these things. if you spent time in the democracy you can't help noticing the air is cleaner, the people are happier in the government don't arrest people and throw them in jail for no reason. so those ideas have to seep back into china. they don't make a big song and dance out of it because they will be arrested. those ideas are coming back. >> host: one thing robert, a lot of examples we just talked about right now, the cardboard industry, the billionaire woman from china, the founders of ali
baba and other tech companies in china, the indian billionaire technologist who are helping with the program in india. this requires a very high level of skill and education. can you talk a little bit about the rule of education in the success of these migrant communities and what they are bringing, what they are creating, the wealth they are creating for the self and others? >> guest: if you are migrant, if you are a minority are starting point has to be that you don't expect to get handouts from anyone. you don't expect any kind of job on the basis of who your parents were, and so you know from the jewish many years ago through the lebanese in sort of south america and now west africa, you get educated. you go learn how to rely on yourself and that means increasingly in this world you have to learn, you have to learn
stuff that is useful for other people. if you're an engineer, people want their bridges not to fall down. likewise if you are a doctor. and so i think they have a homework ethic if you like. there are a lot of people who say you have got to study very hard because that's the way to succeed in life and i think that is a wonderful thing to spread around the world. >> host: an interesting consistent pattern we see. can you talk about, we focus a lot on asia and u.s. been quite a bit of time in asia in your career. how about other regions and some examples? you mentioned the lebanese in latin america for example. i see examples of sort of the immigrants, communities and washington d.c. from air try and ethiopia that starred working at garage is in an owning garage is in parking grudges and their children become educated.
i don't know if there is a success story there but i see the beginning of what looks like a pattern. >> if you are looking at people coming to america and one of the greatest things about america is that because it has by far the largest stock of immigrants from, in any country, no matter where you come from, you can always find a niche. you can find somewhere that is reasonably comfortable for you. suppose for example you are an ethiopian and you want to go somewhere where you can listen to eat ethiopian food, hang out with other ethiopians while at the same time attending a church where there is preaching in your own language. well, you can find that place in america and in fact you have a choice. you could do that in a suburban setting in northern virginia or
you could do it in an urban setting in washington d.c. and there are plenty of other places in the country as well. wherever you come from you can find that niche and you can probably find someone who is at least a friend of her friend when you show up and that's a tremendous comfort for migrants. that is one of the reasons why america, if it chooses to, has the pick of the world's immigrants. you can pick whoever you want. and large numbers of them. and i think the global population stabilizes, which is going to submit a people thing, how large the population of each country is going to depend more and more on whether people want to live there. so you could very easily see if you look at some of the higher u.n. projections of the next century, you can see that there are 500 indian americans by 2050 and possibly even a billion by the end of the century. you could can see there are more americans than there are chinese people by the end of the century and that would mean you know,
the american era is far from over. >> host: oh, fascinating. along those lines, where does national identity fit into this, if at all? does it matter? is an important? >> guest: i think it's very important. a lot of people's sense of who they are and where they come from depends on their cultural moorings. people have roots. the thing is, what i think people don't necessarily understand about national identity is it's perfectly possible to be a loyal american and at the same time be deeply attached to your ancestral chinese or nigerian culture. you can love your wife and your mother-in-law. [laughter] >> host: and do you find that the immigrants you have talked to and you have talked to so many, they feel comfort or do
they feel a tension? >> guest: it depends where they are. generally in america, they seem to feel some tension. but by and large people seem to assimilate much better here than they do say in europe. i think the fundamental reason for that is that in america, basically you have to work and you can just come to america and start claiming welfare benefits to live on if you are an able-bodied young male or something. you have to get a job and in the workplace people have to get along. if you are in an office together, it might not be the people he would necessarily have chosen to socialize with but you are all trying to pursue a common objective. you are all trying to get the work done and that means you have to behave towards each other with a bare minimum of politeness and understanding, that means you -- so the workplace is the most integrated part of america i think. it's a huge contrast to europe where you can sometimes show up
and be paid not to work for your entire life and that is why you have all the sort of angry, i don't slums around paris. they never find work and they also don't contribute very much because the society is not letting them. >> host: society specifically, the society is not letting them because of the policies that are biased towards others? why is that? >> guest: mostly it is because of the welfare. if you pay people not to work and was jobless benefits when they start working to create a huge disincentive to working. there is also discrimination as well but i mean discrimination in all societies, the point is if you pay people not to work, you get less work. >> host: right, and the can you talk about, fascinating to hear so much about the best migration from middle eastern and african into europe and you hear about tension spots and
discrimination but what are the economic effects of these communities today? are they participating in migrationomics like you see in the u.s.? >> guest: not in the same way. there a lot of unofficial effects of immigration to europe. the main type of migration you see in europe is stuff that you don't really think about so much which is the completely free movement of labor between european union countries. that has been a huge success. that is people moving from rich countries to rich countries but you know, there has been an awful lot of bad and that has been tremendously successful. the movement of people from poor countries to europe has been partly successful, but there is the welfare problem that i mentioned. there is some sort of religious tension as well and there are far more xenophobic politics in europe then you'll find here. they are sort sortable and
anti-immigrant policies policies. there are people within -- europe is an awful position at the moment. if you look at the debt crisis in the euro crisis there, that is basically a demographic thing. in the short term it's a political thing but in the long-term the underlying problem is demographics. europeans have stop having babies and that means there aren't enough working people to pay pensions for the older people. if you were america you could solve a lot of that problem by letting in a lot more young energetic immigrants who wicker store the balance and make the population more youthful but because we pay them not to work, it doesn't often work that way. >> host: for all the successes and the hurdles it presents right now, what are some examples of failures that you have seen? any sort of stories or anecdotes of communities where really
using the network has not paid off for those who have participated? often they have gotten burned. are there examples? >> guest: gosh, where networking pays off? >> host: you mentioned in passing the madoff scandal for example. >> guest: right, okay. yeah, the advantage of a network of affinity, sort of an ethnic network is that you can trust the other people because the consequences for them of violating the trust is to get kicked out of the network. that can be abused and bernie madoff was one of the reasons people trusted him so much was because he was such a pillar of the global jewish community, the american jewish community. good old bernie, he is doing wonderful stuff and of course he is above suspicion and it turned out he was a total crook. yeah, people got very badly
burned and an awful lot of prominent jewish americans, jewish charities that lost a lot of money with him. trust can be abused. >> host: is that an outlier example? aside from the scale of his abused. >> guest: look at it a different way. examples that you see, where people trust each other and it works, so for example talking to a nigerian guide who runs a factory in nigeria and he needs to get machines, soap making machines to import from china because that is where the cheapest one came from. it is not a particularly the business. he doesn't. >> chinese. he can fly to china every time he needs to buy a new so pushing so what he did was, he would
rely on nigerian middleman living in china who were actually from the same tribe as him. if you hear someone speaking a bow outside of nigeria you have to go out and talk to them and they would go when look at the machine. seeing it on the internet and check that it was okay and make sure the deal was handled cleanly. he knew he could trust these people because he knew that he could trace them. he knew that if they cheated, new so that the spread immediately on the network in nigeria and no one would do business with them again. people have relied on that reputation and that stems from them being part of this ethnic network. that is how trading networks work. it is how when you know, you have a chinese traitor in indonesia for cheap umbrellas or something, and he can then call
his cousin he runs the factory and long gong and say we need cheap umbrellas and because they trust each other they can seal the deal with a single telephone call it even if it is -- and then they move fast and businesses about moving fast. you want to get those out of to indonesia before the rainy season is over. >> host: one thing i find interesting is how once you are in, when you do migrate your family, you can associate more, can associate more with even those that might've been and -- enemies back at home, maybe a different drive. in u.s. there is a nation identity and you have this freemasonry among immigrants sometimes of trying to -- this feeling that we are all sort of foreign. in broader communities does this work, the idea you were talking about, the affinity networks or does it tend to be more successful when it is not more specific? >> guest: well you know, the
tighter the community the stronger the ties. it is possible to have a mixture of ties. you can have both very close intimate friends on a much wider circle and you can do both at the same time. you have lots of overlapping networks within. say you are an indian working in silicon valley. now we know from surveys that there is some great stuff done by the foundation in kansas city. if they just look at how much time or what proportion of chinese and indian entrepreneurs in the silicon valley share information with their friends back home and what proportion of returnees. they have the chinese and indian engineers who, work in silicon valley for a while, learn a bunch of stuff and then go back home to set up new businesses.
almost all of them will bring home, will bring back to their appointed suzanne friends in silicon valley, every month, information about what is happening on the investment front, what ideas are out there and who is spending money on things. tips about technology and business and that is how business happens faster. when business happens faster, people make more money and that's will set a place. >> host: one thing that you wrote, think the quote was, culture shock makes you think. and clearly you have visited 70 countries and you have lived in many. you seem to be in at an advocate up exploring beyond your borders. >> guest: absolutely. i am a migrant of sorts and i have lived in a bunch of different places and yeah, when you deal with so many situation
to have to figure out new ways of testing them. you live in japan as a panelist student and i remember thinking how on earth am i going to find enough to eat and of course he discovered the japanese people throw away their crops in their bread or code if you go to a bakery and ask for a bag of panini crust, you get a huge bag. if you're an improper student, can go around africa and there are a lot of roadblocks for either soldiers or police who are interested in maybe extracting a little bit of money out of passing travelers. i found if you carry an open packet of cigarettes in your shirt pocket, and offer to everyone you meet, that tended to forestall any demand for money. is it sort of puts them in a good mood and they don't and gilda need to ask you for $10.
>> host: that's a good survival technique for sure. i would love to hear your thoughts on another thing. i'm a child of immigrants. my husband is an immigrant as well and one thing that my parents and my husband talk about a lot is, what would have happened if we stayed? there has been so much prosperity and korea. my husband is actually from turkey. turkey is undergoing a great move in some ways, not do it all to the global economy but compared to other parts of europe is actually quite strong, and my parents are seeing their peers from college to well and not to make us about my family but everybody is quite good right now in my family but my point being, there is always the sort of what could have happened and the idea of you know, others that i've talked to who talk about the myth of the mayor can
dream and immigration and how it is not a being not quite as attractive. these are great examples of success stories in migrationomics but sometimes moving and taking that big risk oftentimes, they don't pay off, not as badly in the way that the bernie madoff scandal did in terms of using the networks but the dreams and really making it. what are your general thoughts on that? >> guest: well i mean, obviously there are opportunity cost of moving. if you go to one place that means you didn't stay in the other place and maybe things would have been different and you can always particularly if you look at the most excess fluid samples of people that you have left behind then yeah, sure some of them might be more successful. you have also had a very bad recession in america recently. my argument in this book is that america is going to bounce back. at the moment is incredibly painful. the thing is, you don't have to, it's not a one-off thing any
more. it's not that you make one decision, i will lead this country. a lot of people are moving around. there it will be five years here, five years there, 10 years there come move to one place and back. you made indians for example who have done 20 years living in america, had a great time and maybe their parents are getting at bit older back in india and they want to look after them so they go back home and they look after them. they probably leave some family back here or maybe they send their kids to university here. the border straddling families. i remember talking to one, where you have the grandmother and near bangalore was teaching classical indian singing via skype to her grandchildren living in texas. and you know, the world is a smaller place and it's possible to be all in one place at the same time. >> host: circling back to the
beginning of our discussion and the role of technology and what facilitates these networks or this borderless network if you will? >> guest: is not just that. to knowledge he makes the diaspora networks more powerful. it's also the migration allows the technology to come into its own. if people were all just sitting in the same place in communicating with the people they knew within a circumscribed area, then technology wouldn't be nearly as useful as it is but because they're all these people who have the need to make contact with people who are far far away but close to them in their hearts, they use technology and it's extraordinary how much that is transform the world. >> host: it is cheaper to fly and easier. >> guest: is not very comfortable but -- >> host: that is right. if you are a fortune 500,
fortune 100, what would i want to learn from your book? what is the lesson to take away for the reader? >> guest: i think the lesson to take away is you won't be aware of what you don't know and how much you can add to your organization by bringing in people who know about parts of the world that you don't. if you want a global business and if you are big business you want to have people who come from the countries you are investigating and if you are an american business and you want to do business in china and you want first -- chinese-americans working with you because they will know more stuff about what is going on there and if you want to do business in india if you want to have a bunch of idiots. if you want to do business with latin america -- you want to have people who understand your site as well. that is why the immigrant perspective is so powerful is because they understand both countries.
that is one thing i think people should learn. and another thing is the factor you can setup a up a very small business. you can have a multinational these days that consist of two people. you can have one immigrant sitting in arizona for example and her cousin or sister sitting in china and one of them understands the american market and the other one is doing the operations in china. you can start a multinational like that. i talk to someone who lived quite near here, who runs a candle may keane business and business is much larger than that but it started off with just her and her husband living in maryland and her sister back in china and hung joe. it is now grown into this bigger business where they do, they do
the cleverest design work. they do that in america and then they do the manufacturing of the candles in china are going than actually china is of up the value chain and do some of the basic design work in china, the most basic manufacturing. they move some of the manufacturing here to be closer and it's really faster. the thing that you have got here is the understanding of the american department stores, the american -- . >> host: and they are stocking the shelves with their goods and so forth. >> guest: that has gone from nothing to a 100 million-dollar business and really not very long in its purity -- purely about border straddling. >> host: besides having good taste because that is hard to break into. fierce competition. it is really hard market to go into. so how do i as a business owner,
a business leader, who knows, let's say for example i am a tech company and i know there's great talent to be had in india, china and india. highway tap into these networks? >> guest: fortunately one of the things that you have to do for the industries have to do collectively is lobbied the government to start giving people visas. the supply of visas to highly-skilled people in this country is so small that it puts off people from applying. people of almost given up and decided they were going to go somewhere else. a survey from duke university where highly-skilled science majors in american universities from china and india and the number of them who thought that they basically wanted to get a visa was a large majority.
and you know that is the surge -- absurd because these are valuable people. >> host: i think that the whole debate over h-1b visas back more than a decade when i was reporting about technology haven't change. >> guest: politically, the argument that you have to do it all in one go. you have to have comprehensive reform and you have to fix the legality for people coming in from mexico at the same time as fixing the highly-skilled and comprehensive immigration reform would be great. is a fantastic thing. i don't see that it has done anything, and i also don't see you why it all has to happen at the same time. i see no reason why you shouldn't improve things as much again as quickly as you can.
noel k., there are the people in the other signed who are talking about they would rather electrify the border prints them educate the children of immigrants. >> host: as an observer of 70 countries and over many years, different economies, what lies ahead? you are optimistic about america's future and how migration -- migrationomics. what is life ahead for tomorrow? >> guest: yes, it is a whole different thing. overall things are going to get better because we are in a very bad situation for sessionwise and these things don't last forever. eventually there's it is going to recover but it is the rate of recovery and how fast you grow.
i am most optimistic about america. i am pretty optimistic about and yet because i think they have got very good demographics there. the political situation is you know, on a day-to-day level you have got the corruption and inefficiency and they are not building roads properly but on the long term, it's pretty stable. they are not going to have a civil war. they have a democracy that works. they have the ability to change governments and government more or less reflect the will of the people so the long-term it's stable and they have this fantastic bulge of working age people coming up. i much forward about china. china has been growing very fast but i think it is going to start hitting the brakes fairly soon. the labor force is starting to shrink already thanks to the one-child policy.
the country is going to get old before it gets rich. under the one-child policy, you had this period where you would have to parents with only one kid and that was fantastic dependency ratio. told parents could go out to work. that one kid would have for grandparents and so there were toys be someone to look after the baby. the mother could work and i'm assuming the father as well and that powered you through the micro. back in china but then when you move on a generation and suddenly you are the only child and he is looking after the two aging parents in the foraging grandparents, then suddenly the dependency ratio has flipped. suddenly society is getting much much older much faster than any other society has ever gotten old before. that is going to affect the dynamism because they haven't made the transition to democracy yet. that is another huge question mark back. is going to happen sometime and question is -- my thought that
is it will happen from within and i hope that is true but i can't be certain. >> host: robert thank you so much for your time. we continue to look forward to your observations around the world. >> guest: thank you very much. that was after words booktv signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed a journalist, public policymakers, legislators and others familiar with their material. after words airs every weekend on booktv at 10:00 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9:00 p.m. on sunday and 12:00 a.m. on monday. you can also watch after words on line.